Five-Point Inspection: 2015 Dodge Viper GTS

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

It’s big, it’s bad and it’s a Dodge once more! The Viper is a mean machine from the folks in Auburn Hills. But what’s it like driving this SRT-tuned super snake? Hit the jump for more.

Aside from its malicious-looking exterior, the main appeal of this all-out performance car is crammed under its elongated hood. The 2015 Dodge Viper GTS is powered by an 8.4-liter V10. This 90-degree unit features variable valve timing, an aluminum block and heads plus a 10.2-to-1 compression ratio. It also takes 11 quarts of oil; that’s nearly three gallons!

SEE ALSO: Dodge Viper Gets $15K Lopped Off Starting Price

The result of this massive displacement is 645 horses and 600 lb-ft of torque. Redline is 6,400 RPM. Overall this car’s engine is such massive overkill it’s like using a Gatling gun to knock down a hornet nest.

But still, the Viper has a certain appeal that’s totally different from other cars. Its arching fenders, pronounced sculptural details and voluptuous curves add up to one handsome body. It’s attractive, it’s unmistakable, it’s even iconic. There’s no mistaking this beast from anything else on the road.

With its latest rework, designers have done a great job sprucing up the Viper’s interior. Gone are the days of Tupperware plastics and poor ergonomics. Now it’s trimmed in high-quality materials and everything seems solidly built.

SEE ALSO: Five-Point Inspection — Alfa Romeo 4C

Unfortunately it’s still cramped, hot and difficult to see out of. Larger individuals or people with joint issues will have terrific difficulty getting into and out of this machine (not that other sports cars are any better). Also, even drivers on the smaller side (like me) can start to feel claustrophobic in the there, something that is not an issue in the tiny Alfa Romeo 4C… Figure that out. I blame the Viper’s msasive transmission tunnel for the lack of room.

Circling an autocross course at Chrysler’s Chelsea, Mich. proving ground revealed the Viper’s true performance. This car is seriously fast and the torque provided by its massive V10 is incredible; supposedly it’s got the most twist of any naturally aspirated sports car engine in the world. It’s burly enough that it feels like you could just drive around in sixth gear all the time.

But even more surprising than the torque was how good it sounded, with the exhaust system bringing to mind a racecar on the boil. Ten-cylinder engines and the inline-fives they’re often derived from typically make weird noises because of their physics-defying nature. Part of the odd ruckus they make probably comes from Isaac Newton thrashing about in his grave at the thought of an engine firing every 72-degree of crankshaft rotation.

After my admittedly brief evaluation of the 2015 Viper GTS I’m happy to report that I survived the experience, which is surprising. Given this car’s ferocious nature I expected, at the very least, to limp away from it heavily maimed. But against the odds Chrysler’s snake didn’t bite like I thought would, and count my stars I didn’t have to go home in a body bag.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review

This latest Viper is easily the best one yet. It features a refined and massively powerful engine, a nicely trimmed cabin and plenty of sex appeal. But at the end of the day its cramped cabin, challenged outward visibility and ferocious feel make it hard to recommend to anyone other than a driver in the market for a track-day toy. In a lot of ways the Viper is like a Corvette that’s built by Chrysler, though it’s simply not as good.

GALLERY: 2015 Dodge Viper GTS

Discuss this story on our Viper Forum.

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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 1 comment
  • Dave Foley Dave Foley on Sep 10, 2014

    The absolute best part of the new SRT (now Dodge) Viper is that they fixed the 'broken' look of the original, while making it 50%+ more powerful! AND, now it's on 'sale'!!! Huzzah!! The move to make (SRT) Dodge Viper a fully purchaser financed division was pretty aggressive. Given the math of regular inflation, the new price is probably where they should have been all along. That said. One thing does persist. Is $15k discount all that important to someone that is probably already able to spend $100,000 for it? Time will tell. The only upside I can see from it all is that the lower price MAY drive more traffic to see the now 'affordable' sports ca..... Hahaha!! Sorry! Even I couldn't hold it together for that!!! Hahahaaa!!! Sigh.... "Cool" is a fleeting thing. The car is seriously capable, and has improved most all of its previous shortcomings, but the reason people buy these, is to be "COOL". If that is somehow missing in the formula, a resurgence in sales - and the "Halo effect" that the car originally had, will be totally gone. Can a new ad campaign make it "Cool" again? It could happen. After all, the original "Imported From Detroit" Superbowl ad had people buying a re-tuned, and re-baked Sebring in some pretty decent numbers - considering.